A.S. "Jake" Gaither


This Hall of Fame coaching legend was one of the winningest coaches in American college football
history, fashioning a 203-36-4 record in 25 years at Florida A&M.

One of American college football's all-time great coaches worked the sidelines at Florida A&M during a scintillating career that that spanned 25 years, turning a struggling program into a virtual collegiate superpower.

THE JAKE GAITHER ERA
Year W- L- T

1945 ....... 9- 1- 0
1946 ....... 6- 4- 1
1947 ....... 9- 1- 0
1948 ....... 8- 2- 0
1949 ....... 7- 2- 0
1950 ....... 7- 1- 1
1951 ....... 7- 1- 1
1952 ....... 8- 2- 0
1953 ..... 10- 1- 0
1954 ....... 8- 1- 0
1955 ....... 7- 1- 1
1956 ....... 8- 1- 0
1957 ....... 9- 0- 0
1958 ....... 7- 2- 0
1959 ...... 10- 0- 0
1960 ....... 9- 1- 0
1961 ...... 10- 0- 0
1962 ....... 9- 1- 0
1963 ....... 8- 2- 0
1964 ....... 9- 1- 0
1965 ....... 7- 3- 0
1966 ....... 7- 3- 0
1967 ....... 8- 2- 0
1968 ....... 8- 2- 0
1969 ....... 8- 1- 0
Career.. 203- 36- 4

Alonzo Smith "Jake" Gaither came to Florida A&M as an assistant to another coaching legend, William "Big Bill" Bell in 1938, just in time to help the Rattlers to an undefeated season (8-0-0), which resulted in the first-ever national title.

A man of humble demeanor, Gaither would, as Bell's top aide, would be a vital part of FAMU's three national championship teams (1938, 1940, 1942) during the pre-World War II era.

An intensely competitive man, who was known as much for his consummate skills as a motivator as he was for winning games, Gaither would in 1945, get the nod to take the helm of the program.
Over the following quarter century (1945-69), Florida A&M Football embarked on a truly golden era, capturing seven national titles, while 36 All-America and 42 professional football players were produced.

The Rattlers won 23 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles, capturing 60 straight league wins at one stretch from 1952 through 1956.

A graduate of Knoxville (Tenn.) College (1927), finished his career with a 203-36-4 record, an .841 winning percentage which ranks him eighth all-time in among collegiate coaches.

Gaither, who also coached basketball and track, early in his coaching tenure at Florida A&M, also served as Director of Athletics and Chairman of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, the latter roles he filled with wisdom and vision until his retirement in 1973.

In 1975, he was honored with the "Triple Crown" of coaching awards - the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (American Football Coaches' Association), The Walter Camp Award (from the Walter Camp Foundation), and enshrinement into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.

The late All-America halfback Willie Galimore, arguably Gaither's finest player, joined his coach in the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1999, yet another testament to the greatness of FAMU Football under Gaither.

Gaither, passed away in Tallahassee after a lengthy illness in the spring of 1994, leaving behind a golden legacy which will never be matched.


designed by the conglomerate
n. anyjah heatley 3 designer
©2001 the conglomerate ®2001 florida a&m university
click here to return to menu